Joanne Lowery


He fashioned small eyeglasses
from balsa wood and cellophane
like the 3-D glasses I wore
as a paper-flat child
so the world would pop out.

It did: a self plus a self
and all the rest receding
to God's vanishing point.

Here, put them on, he said.
The red eye canceled out the green
so that everything was gray:
dove gray, cloud gray, charcoal,
and the color of my mealy heart.

It was late fall, one tree
still resistant to the charms
of its bare black brothers.
Here a red flag, there an orange.
Then the last of them hit pavement
and November's damp air shone through.


When the snow falls flat as pie tins,
thick as mattress stuffing, silent
as a thousand bells bereft of clappers

it’s no surprise to hear sparrows
fat as sleigh bells, every feather
tucked close behind every other,

eager for the sunflower seeds set out
by Mrs. Winters in an old plate
now that the last piece—

crust and all—is gone.